Trump is already using James O'Keefe's CNN sting video to raise money for 2020


Right-wing infiltrator and investigator James O'Keefe is releasing secretly recorded videos of CNN staffers casting doubts on the importance of covering Trump's alleged ties to Russia.

CNN stands by its producer from the first video, and there are already reasons to doubt the video's credibility. But for President Donald Trump, it's a ripe opportunity to fuel his 2020 reelection bid.

The "Trump Make America Great Again Committee" put out an email on Wednesday, shortly after the videos were published, asking for money and saying the video "raises serious questions" about the fake news media.

"This is the REAL opposition," the email reads. "The Democrats are a lost cause without a message, but the fake news media machine can push liberal propaganda all it wants 24/7 and pretend it’s the truth."

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

But Trump isn't just taking advantage of an opportunity: He helped create that opportunity.

In 2015, Trump's charitable foundation donated $10,000 to Project Veritas, the nonprofit corporation O'Keefe uses to hire his operatives and publish his videos. Trump's foundation is among a number of dark money groups used to protect the identities of political donors.

Though O'Keefe's investigative methods have repeatedly been found illegal, the Trump administration is using the new videos to raise tension between the White House and the mainstream media. On Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that "everybody in this room and, frankly, everybody across the country to take a look at" the video to evaluate CNN's credibility, prompting Playboy's White House correspondent, of all people, to interrupt.

"What you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, 'See, once again, the president is right, and everybody else out here is fake media,'" he said. "Everybody in this room is only trying to do their job."